The other day I was taking a drive through Portage heading towards the gorgeous Eliason Nature Preserve when I noticed a sign that caught my attention.

The sign read, "Portage. Tree City, USA." Naturally, my interests were piqued. Does Portage have the most trees in the ol' US of A? Do they have a wide variety of trees? Are they the nicest to their trees?

Wrong on all counts.

In fact, Tree City, USA, is a designated title granted by the Arbor Day Foundation for cities that "have excelled at efforts in urban forestry."

How Many Tree City, USA Cities Are There?

According to, there were a total of 3,652 recognized cities in 2021. That equates to 941,725 planted trees and $1,399,019,027 invested in urban forestry.

Urban forestry, if you don't know, is defined as,

 the planting, maintenance, care and protection of tree populations in urban settings

Pretty self-explanatory, I know.

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What Are the Benefits of Urban Forestry?

There are several. According to, those benefits include:

  • Sound absorption. Apparently, trees can reduce traffic noise in urban areas by 40%
  • Cooler temps. Neighborhoods with trees can be up to 9 degrees cooler than those without
  • Carbon Dioxide absorption.

See the full list here.

What Trees Should I Plant in My Yard?

Great question! Even though I don't, at this point, have a yard, I asked myself the same question last year. So, I put together a list with instructional videos included. Check it out below:

If you're like me and have no yard, there are still opportunities to do some planting. In fact, the City of Portage has an upcoming flower-planting event and is looking for volunteers:

However, if you see these plants/insects, make sure you get rid of them immediately:

10 Invasive Plants & Insects You Should Destroy if You Spot Them in Michigan

Unfortunately, Michigan has a long list of both plants and insects that are invasive. Here's what to be on the lookout for.

10 Houseplants That Will Actually Survive Indoors During Michigan's Cloudy Seasons

If you're looking for a plant that will actually survive indoors in Michigan, check these out. They're perfect for the plant-challenged (like me).

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